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The Beast’s Monthly Mail Bag

By The Wonderful People of the Eastern Suburbs on November 26, 2020 in People

Snail mail.

Punch Up
Hi James – We were disgusted to read Kieran Blake’s article in the November edition, titled ‘Safe Injecting Space Planned for Mackenzies Bay’. Sure, dogs pooping freely in the bay sucks, but what an awful way to write about it. And the accompanying photo and caption?! Shame on The Beast for publishing this.
Words are powerful. Stigmatising language supports negative attitudes. It is distressing, marginalizing, and dehumanising, and leads to poor outcomes for everyone.
People who use drugs deserve the same love and respect that we extend to our friends, family, and community because we guarantee that everyone knows someone who uses drugs. Articles like this only serve to make people feel ashamed and afraid to disclose or seek help if needed.
It has been proven that safer injecting saves lives! Since the Kings Cross Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) opened in 2001, they have managed thousands of overdoses without a fatality. How dare you trivialise this vital public health service in the name of ‘satire’.
We look forward to future content that is compassionate, better informed, and doesn’t punch down.
Lizzie & Sarah Jane


Poor Penny
Hello James – First, let me send loving wishes in memory of Dan. I still think of him each time The Beast arrives, and of how brave he was.
Turn to this November issue of The Beast’s Monthly Mail bag, page 14, and “Outraged Penny from Bronte” is complaining about an advertisement plastered on the back of a bus that “doesn’t belong in this century”. It offends her! Try and move forward from your bitter nook, Penny! Three men and one woman holding a ball “outrages you”?! A severe imbalance of power on an advertisement, on the back of a bus, for all to see…OMG!
Does anything else vex you? Maybe you should start a page of your own somewhere, reporting such indecencies. “Penny’s painful pursuit purges pitiful posting propriety.” I wish you a day full of anything that does not offend, dear Penny.


My Coogee
Bravo Mike Ougie on the article about Coogee Pavilion’s massive footprint, er, expansion request (Coogee Pavilion Proposes Privatisation of Public Space, The Beast, November 2020). As the article states, not only does the building already devour public space, but they are doing little to nothing to eliminate their footprint in regards to single-use plastics and cigarette butts being flushed down the stormwater drains.
Marina DeBris


Something Fishy
Randwick Council is currently waiving all application fees and footpath dining charges for businesses until June 30, 2021. That probably means that if the DA is approved for the Coogee Pavilion, it will not have to pay any usage fees for the public space until July next year.
The usage fee for the whole Coogee Primary Zone is only $741 per square metre per year. The Pavilion would be paying the same rate to use that public space with absolute water views – and no passing traffic – for 18 hours a day, as a small restaurant at the top of busy Coogee Bay Road that is open for only 8 hours a day would pay. Something wrong here!


Doesn’t Pass The Pub Test
The public furniture proposed in the DA excludes the possibility of use by a person who lives with disabilities. It’s difficult to assert that the proposal is in the public interest while ever that is the case.


Oh, sweet Gladys
Some might call Gladys’ school funding for her – no longer secret – former boyfriend’s electorate in Wagga Wagga outright corruption. Others might see it as classical Liberal Party criminality. Still, others might say it’s just Liberal Party pork barrelling – using government funds to win votes.
Yet there is a term that evolutionary psychology calls SSS – sexual selection strategies, albeit SSS comes a bit late for the 50-year-old NSW Premier. Indeed, many of our prehistoric ancestors would have engaged in a little “food for hanky panky” exchange – the hunter man returning with meat for his “hot date”. Going back to about 40,000 years ago, such exchanges also included Neanderthals, as most of us with European background carry up to 2 per cent Neanderthal DNA.
This is nothing new, including the rather typical Liberal Party hypocrisy. Then again, as long as Murdoch’s formidable media monopoly machine can sell this party as standing for family values (secret lover) and law and order (school funding for sweet bedroom action), all is well in Murdochland.
I am sure there are capable men in the Eastern Suburbs – not just in Wagga Wagga – who can measure up(!) to get their school better funding. Actually, come to think of it, isn’t it a shame that sweet Gladys had to use tax money to travel all the way to Wagga Wagga to see her boyfriend? What is wrong with men in Sydney?
Thomas “Gigolo” Maguire


Trailer Trash
Hi – I have been living in North Bondi for a long time and I have always been a keen reader of The Beast. Since 2017 I’ve been staying in Hastings Parade, and since then there has been a boat trailer parked just in front of the building where I live. The boat has been there non-stop for not less than three years (but who really knows how long), and hasn’t been used or even moved a single time. I’ve seen the owner washing off the boat twice a year, maybe less.
The problem is that the street is quite narrow (one way) and the trailer makes it difficult to get out of the driveway, depending on the size of the car parked on the opposite side of the road. Most of the time, it is a big inconvenience for me and all the others sharing the same driveway – which is two buildings of 6 units each and multiple cars passing through the driveway every single day. Sometimes, to get out of the driveway, we have to drive the wrong way down the road, risking an accident. Not to mention the scarcity of car spots in the area.
I was told that in some areas of Sydney there is a time limit on boat street parking of 28 days, but unfortunately, I did not find any information regarding my residential area, so I guess it does not apply here.
Personally, I think that this behaviour should be an offence regardless of the area, and the offender should have the trailer towed and receive a hefty fine. The public land, particularly in busy cities, is not intended to be occupied by private vehicles indefinitely.
Simon Baraglia
North Bondi


Keep Cups
Just a reminder to The Beast readers: many cafes in the Eastern Suburbs are once again accepting reusable coffee cups after banning them during the height of the COVID outbreak. It’s time to once again ditch the takeaway cups! If you forget your reusable cup, then at the very least refuse the plastic lid.
South Coogee


Commercial Creep: Amalfi Beach Club
Dear Editor – I loathe the Amalfi Beach Club concept. The beach is our public space and its natural beauty should be protected. Keep the commercial creep off our sand.
Merran Hughes
North Bondi


The Nightingales
This is a great interview with an interesting man (Harry Nightingale… Living Life in the Moment, The Beast, May 2013). I was born and raised in Ceylon and I think Harry’s father taught me to swim as a child. He was a trainer who wanted me and a couple of friends to come to Australia to train for the Olympics. My parents said no, as I was 12-years-old at the time. My friend Margaret de Saram became an Olympic silver medallist.
I wonder which years his dad went back to Ceylon to teach? He was a martinet and worked us very hard but we loved Mr Nightingale.


A Big Thank You
This morning I was coming out of Spotlight at Bondi Junction when I tripped and fell over uneven pavement. I hit the pavement on my face and my wrist took the fall. Within seconds there were amazing people surrounding me. I was quite shaken up, but a lovely English family and two big young chaps all came to my assistance, even offering to get me an a Uber home when I said I was walking home to Coogee. Thank you for caring and assisting an embarrassed old girl. I want to say a big thank you to these caring people.


Bring Back The Dunnies!
Hi Beast – I am appalled that Waverley Council has not placed an accessible toilet at the Bondi Beach Pavilion renovations, which began in June 2020 and are predicted to continue for 18 months, especially as there were accessible toilets there prior to renovations. They have placed two male and two female temporary toilets, all up six or seven stairs, with no consideration for people with disabilities, the elderly, and possibly parents with prams. Also, the Surfish Cafe continues to trade there, with no accessible toilet in close proximity.
What is of huge concern is that when I called Waverley Council I was told it was only a temporary thing and that there are accessible toilets at Bondi Icebergs or close to North Bondi Surf Club. The customer service person was rude and argued the point. I then emailed Waverley Council and received the same response, but they also attached a map showing me where the North Bondi accessible toilet is.
I asked them why they don’t make the able-bodied people use those toilets and place accessible temporary toilets near the pavilion, and received no response.
I know that it is against the law for any new public building not to be fully accessible, and I am sure that there must be rules surrounding renovations of a usually accessible public building. I just feel for minority groups in our society and think that Waverley Council must do better for people who are already up against it every day of their lives.
I would hope a temporary accessible toilet is added in front of the Pavilion renovations as soon as is possible, in addition to the four temporary toilets upstairs. It’s too far for people whose mobility is already compromised to get to the other toilets that were suggested, and why shouldn’t their lives be made a little easier, just like the able-bodied people, by having a toilet they can access in that vicinity too?
Concerned Citizen
North Bondi


Random Discursive
Growing up here in the east we are born into a bubble, born and bred here without realising the effects this so-called social isolation has on our perspectives and attitudes towards misogyny. What characterises this social isolation, you might ask? What does being in this bubble imply?
Both of these questions you’re asking yourself are extremely valid and help to gain a deeper insight into this discussion. This social isolation can be represented as a dome placed over the Eastern Suburbs – no one can come in, and no one goes out. Being in this bubble is all we know, causing us to become increasingly more ignorant to issues outside of this bubble. The perspectives outside of this culture are being ignored to an extent, however, it may not be viewed in this manner, but more in a way that other perspectives are irrelevant. The way this culture of masculinity manifests is by symbolising itself through this echo chamber where prejudice and oppression are recycled and reinforced through the generations.
There is no one, definitive version of masculinity that is shared among all young males in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. However, as an active member of this community, I am in a position to provide some sort of authentic insight into how young men think about themselves, each other and women. This is partly because I am one, and guilty of participating in these discussions surrounding women, whether it be in the surf or in Maccas at 2am after a night out.
As a surfer, you are placed into this unknowingly hierarchical environment and, like any hierarchy, you have to work your way up the ranks. For some, this will never be possible, due to circumstances beyond the individual’s control. What seems to those outside of this bubble-like a place of solitude and relaxation can often be the complete opposite.
With the surfing community around the east being predominantly male dominated, the chats and ‘bants’ that take place in this environment are free of criticism from your fellow surfers and political correctness. It is seen as a place of safety in which ‘the boys’ have your back. To a certain degree it is an environment where what is said will never leave that place, and this can be a fundamental aspect of a surfer’s ‘escape’, this release in which they place utmost confidence to hold their deepest and darkest secrets.
This idea of the surf safe haven stems from when surfing was first introduced into Sydney in 1915. From there the safe haven was born, and as each year went by, the sacredness became more and more important. It was so long ago we tend to forget how it even came to fruition. The typical ‘Aussie bloke’ is a stigma that has been well and truly alive for generations. However, in this day and age, with all the controversial ‘political correctness’ and a growing awareness of inappropriateness regarding misogyny, there has to be an outlet for these attitudes and conversations.
Young boys growing up around the east generally have everything on a silver platter, and if not very close. They take this privilege for granted. Then their views surrounding attitudes towards women are being labelled as inappropriate, which in a large majority of cases is true. Young Australian males are unknowingly presented with this stigma of being a ‘true blue Aussie’, and a large factor of this is attitudes towards women, going way back to when tapping a girl’s arse was a compliment.
Despite women’s growing awareness of their own rights, along with a large feminist movement being present worldwide, young males still feel the need to have these inappropriate beliefs. One of the main things fuelling this fire is the need to live up to previous generations and ‘fill their shoes’, and as mentioned before, to fulfil this idolised ‘Aussie bloke’ persona and the associated mannerisms. I can attest to this as I have caught myself doing just that. Being a 17-year-old male growing up in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, you are once again ‘trapped in this bubble’. Even with parents who are so aware of misogyny, racism and sexism, I have still engaged in these behaviours. Most young males do so, while still knowing that if these conversations were heard by women, they would be judged, frowned upon and – the worst thing for a teenager – lectured.
So, this leaves us with the question of why? Why do these conversations, attitudes and behaviours still take place in such a politically correct society, an educated society that knows right from wrong? This question hasn’t been answered to this day, and probably won’t be for generations to come. However, I can attempt to provide you with an answer. If males do not start to address these horrific sexist conversations taking place, nothing will change, although taking this leap of faith and ‘growing the balls’ to say something to ‘the boys’ could seem like you’re risking your place as ‘one of the boys’.
I strongly feel this is partly the reason as to why these attitudes are not addressed. And who knows, there could be a multitude of ‘the boys’ thinking the same thing, all holding back due to this growing fear. So, if anything, these attitudes will keep being forced to be on the down-low, within a safe place like the surf. I’ll leave you with these questions: Why is this still such a large part of such an educated society, how do these attitudes remain, and when will they cease to exist, if ever?

Channel-billed cuckoos
at 11 o’clock!
By Vicky Edema, Bronte

Last week I heard a pterodactyl-like screech
Coming up from the gully, near Bronte Beach
“Oh no!” I cried
“It’s the raucous sound
Of Channel-billed Cuckoos, they’ve landed in town!”
Their calls drew closer,
Pied Currawongs flew in
I sensed a battle
was about to begin.
The cuckoos took cover
in gumtrees near by
As the Currawongs,
like Kittyhawks,
commanded the skies.
Those birds were relentless
in their attack
As one flew in,
another flew back.
Next thing I knew,
Noisy Miners arrived
Like a squadron of spitfires they chirped, and they dived.
The Currawongs’ nest
was a short distance away
The cuckoos withstood
the noise and affray
With their eyes on the prize, the male tried a distraction
While the female moved closer to the coveted attraction.
Above the discord
I heard bird bodies collide
“Knock those cuckoos off their perch! I’m on your side!”
And I too clapped my hands, to give those cuckoos a scare
No eggs will be laid,
in nests around here!
The determination and courage of the Bronte bird team
Was a sight to behold,
an amazing scene!
Like our soldiers past,
they were up for the fight
And the pair of cuckoos eventually took flight.
Forced to abandon
their invasive play
For the Currawongs and Miners, it was victory that day!
And… HUGE thanks to them, and allied forces, I say!